Satan, Sin and Hell
1. Why do Mormons teach that there is no eternal Hell?
2. How can Satan and Jesus be brothers?
3. Was David forgiven for the sin of murder?
1. Why do Mormons teach that there is no eternal Hell? (see BofM: 1 Nephi 14:3; 2 Nephi 9:16; 28:21-23; Mosiah 3:25; Alma 34:35; Helaman 6:28 and 13:25, 26.
A: Latter-day scriptures describe at least three senses of hell:
(1) that condition of misery which may attend a person in mortality due to disobedience to divine law;
(2) the miserable, but temporary, state of disobedient spirits in the spirit world awaiting the resurrection;
(3) the permanent habitation of the sons of perdition, who suffer the second spiritual death and remain in hell even after the resurrection.
The third definition is the eternal Hell these particular scriptures are talking about. It is reserved for Satan and his followers and does not apply to most inhabitants of the earth. The other two forms of Hell are tempory conditions; and are usually what we are refering to when we speak or teach of Hell.
2. In the light of Ezekiel 28:13-15 and Hebrews 1:5, how can Satan and Jesus be brothers? (Note: Satan was created).
A: Satan's spirit was created by heavenly parents the same way the spirit of Jesus and all of our spirits were created. We believe that God is the Father of all spirits, including Jesus, everyone on earth, and Satan and his angels who were cast out after the great war in heaven. This makes us all brothers and sisters in the spiritual sense.
Catholic scholar Giovanni Papini quotes and comments on the writings of the early Christian
Lactantius (26-340 AD):
"Before creating the world, God produced a spirit like Himself,
replete with the virtues of the Father. Later he made another, in whom
the mark of divine origin was erased, because this one was besmirched
by the poison of jealousy and turned therefore from good to evil....
He was jealous of his older Brother who, remaining united with his
Father, insured his affection unto himself. This being who from god
became bad is called Devil by the Greeks."
[Papini comments:] According to Lactantius, Lucifer would have been
nothing less than the brother of the Logos.... The elder spirit,
filled with every divine virtue and beloved by God above all other
spirits, can easily be recognized as Word, that think that the other
Spirit, also endowed with every grace, was the second son of the
Father: the future Satan would be, no less, the younger brother of the
future Christ. (The Devil [NY:E.P. Dutton & Co., 1954], 81-82;
original Lactantius, Divine Institutes II, 9; quoted by Bill Forrest;
for those who term Lactantius as "Christian," see Peterson & Ricks,
150, n. 518.)
If Lactantius can believe that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers and still be called a "Christian," then so can Mormons.
Please see also
3. Was David forgiven for the sin of murder? Some scriptures and Church authorities seem to indicate
that forgiveness for murder is possible. Others come right out and say
this is not true. Can you explain the discrpencies?
Elder Boyd K. Packer stated in October 1995:
"Alma bluntly told his wayward son that repentance could not come unto men except there were a punishment. The punishment may, for the most part, consist of the torment we inflict upon ourselves. It may be the loss of privilege or progress."
A foot note to Elder Packer's printed conference address says: "Forgiveness will come eventually to all repentant souls who have not committed the unpardonable sin (Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; see Matt. 12:31). Forgiveness does not, however, necessarily assure exaltation, as is the case with David."
See D&C 132:38-39:
"... and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them to another, saith the Lord"
According to Joseph Smith, David will not be forgiven unless he goes through hell first, but he will not be left there:
"A murderer, for instance, one that sheds inocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. David sought forgiveness at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell.
Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood; and the Priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage."
(See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 339 and Ps. 16:10; Acts 2:25-27)
Here are a few quotes by some other general authorities on the subject:
President Marion G. Romney (April 1979)
"David, on the other hand, though highly favored of the Lord (he was, in fact, referred to as a man after God's own heart), yielded to temptation. His unchastity led to murder, and as a consequence, he lost his families and his exaltation (see D&C 132:39)."
President Milton R. Hunter (April 1971)
"Having an understanding of the plan of salvation and a thorough knowledge of the seriousness of the gross sins of adultery and murder which he had committed, King David in anguish cried out unto the Lord: "... thou wilt not leave my soul in hell." (Ps. 16:10)
Spencer W. Kimball(October 1980)
"Perhaps one reason murder is unforgivable is that having taken a life, the murderer cannot restore it. Restitution in full is not possible. Also, having robbed one of virtue, it is impossible to give it back."
Joseph F. Smith(Gospel Doctrine p. 434)
"But even David, though guilty of adultery and murder of Uriah, obtained the promise that his soul should not be left in hell, which means, as I understand it, that even he shall escape the second death."
The way I understand it, a person who sheds innocent blood "shall not have forgiveness in this world , nor in the world to come"(D&C 42:18). The refusal of forgiveness refered to here means that the murderer can not repent and receive forgiveness through the atonement of Christ. They can not be forgiven in the sense that celestial salvation is made available to them. They will go to hell (spirit prison)to be punnished for it. However, a person may eventually be able to receive another type of forgiveness which requires paying the price by suffering in hell for the murder. Then they may be able to be rescued from hell, as in the case of David, and still obtain some degree of glory(but not exaltation) after the final judgement, depending on how good they were during the rest of their life.